The Burnside Conversations is a digital series that features Julian Burnside in conversation with key Australian and global thinkers on the matter of asylum and current threats to human rights, expanding on views expressed in the Rymer Childs feature length documentary BORDER POLITICS.

We are excited to get the series out to the broader community and we believe it will add to the debate about asylum seekers, human rights and democracy. We would like you to think of The Burnside Conversations as a set of tools supporting an argument for the vital preservation of human rights in our world.  

 

The series is confronting, compelling and compassionate.

We have re-sequenced these links, so that the most recent is at the top

Our Politicians Have Taken Us To a Very Dark Place - Election Special

Julian Burnside and David Marr discuss the use of fear in demonising asylum seekers and the obscene amount of money spent on damaging them.

 

The race for the cruellest outcomes has meant that none of the outrages on Manus and Nauru have provoked a change of political heart or a move towards a positive bipartisan approach.

Daniel Webb has led the Human Rights Law Centre’s advocacy, fighting endlessly in the courts for the rights of asylum seekers, heading the Centre’s advocacy at the UN Human Rights Council and winning international accolades for his tireless efforts.

 

Webb discusses the issues associated with mandatory detention and how the system is designed to return asylum seekers home through inhumane treatment.

A System Designed to Return Asylum Seekers
Scotland's Solid Refugee Strategy

David O’Neill was in a unique position, leading a cross party democratic organisation to work right across Scotland to ensure that a solid refugee strategy was in place.

 

He was first elected a Councillor in 1995 and head of Cosla in 2012.

 

O’Neill emphasises the political and public need to look first at the humanitarian crisis facing refugees and discusses the role leadership plays in offering the right assistance.

Emilie Rouvroy contends that there is no longer a proper process for refugees seeking asylum.

 

She is critical of the EU Turkey deal and explains that nations erecting fences leads to asylum seekers being trapped with nowhere to go.

No Proper Process for Asylum Seekers?
The Very Real Risks to Asylum Seeking Minors

Daniel Barney has been working on the front line with MSF in many places, and spent much time at the Jungle in Calais.

 

In Calais he was particularly concerned with the plight of unaccompanied minors.

Learning From Refugees of the Past

Former Ambassador to both the United States and Great Britain, Wolfgang Ischinger is sometimes described as 'Germany’s best connected former diplomat. He serves on the Supervisory Board of Allianz Deutschland AG and on the governing board of the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute. He is currently Chair of the Munich Security Council.

 

Ischinger cites the horrors of the Berlin Wall and the memories of genocide as affecting current decisions regarding refugees in Germany.

Australia's Embarrassing Refugee Policies

Phil Glendenning is Director of the Edmund Rice Centre and President of the Refugee Council of Australia and has made frequent, dangerous journeys to 22 countries to monitor the safety of asylum seekers rejected by Australia.

 

Glendenning brings tales of horror about refugees sent back to their countries by Australia. He provides compelling arguments to support the claim that the Australian public is being lied to by its politicians.

 

Glendenning discusses his embarrassment when leaders of international refugee councils are incredulous at the tiny populations on Manus and Nauru and the incredible cruelty meted out to them by the Australian government.

Opening the Door for People Seeking Refuge

As professor emeritus of American History and Chicano Studies at California State University in Los Angeles, Francisco Balderrama has a keen understanding of the parallels between events in the US in the 1930’s and what is happening today under President Trump.

 

He pulls no punches as he describes Trump’s Mexican Wall plans as stupid. He questions the right of an immigrant nation to “shut the door” on people seeking refuge.

The Endless Fight for Asylum Seekers Rights

Daniel Webb has led the Human Rights Law Centre’s advocacy, fighting endlessly in the courts for the rights of asylum seekers, heading the Centre’s advocacy at the UN Human Rights Council and winning international accolades for his tireless efforts.

 

Webb suggests that many of the activities played out on Manus and Nauru would not be possible if Australia had a Bill of Rights.

Is Australia's Asylum Seeker Approach Too Extreme?

A commercial lawyer, Tony Fisher is also Chair of the Human Rights Committee of the Law Society of England and Wales and regularly appears as an advocate in the European Court of Human Rights.

 

Fisher compares contemporary attitudes to asylum seekers with the past and suggests that Australia’s current approach is the most extreme in the world.

The Appalling Secrets of Australian Detention Centers

As a trauma psychologist, Paul Stevenson was so appalled by the conditions of asylum seekers on Nauru that he secretly collected data showing the level of abuse which were later published in the Guardian, as the ‘Nauru Files’.

 

Stephenson describes conditions he observed when working on Nauru. He has no doubt that permanent mental and physical damage is happening for asylum seekers held there.

 

He is blunt in his assessment of the Australian public’s culpability.

Secrecy, Lies and Fear - Asylum Seeker Policy

One of Australia’s foremost journalists, David Marr has pursued human rights issues with a fierce passion, and has written extensively on asylum seeker policy ever since the Tampa incident in 2001.

 

Marr and Burnside discuss their frustrations with their own disciplines as journalist and barrister. Both despair at being able to bring effective argument to a political situation they both regard as untenable.

 

Secrecy, lies and fear dominate the public space and seem to defeat their arguments.

Refugee Detention is NOT Necessary

A psychologist who lives in Mytilene on Lesvos, Efi Latsoudi founded Lesvos Solidarity to help the refugees in a respectful and humanitarian way.

 

In the frontline of the Syrian displacement in Europe, she emphasises the need to defend human rights and offer the refugees dignified assistance.

 

She argues that detention is not necessary.

Refugee Policy is Thinly Disguised Islamophobia

In his role as Executive Director of Human Rights Watch, Kenneth Roth has conducted numerous missions and investigations into human rights breaches around the world.

 

He describes Australia’s asylum policy as despicable identifying the government's stated concerns about drowning at sea as thinly disguised Islamophobia.

Australia's Incredible Cruelty to Refugees

Phil Glendenning is also President of the Refugee Council of Australia and has made frequent, dangerous journeys to 22 countries to monitor the safety of asylum seekers rejected by Australia.

Glendenning brings tales of horror about refugees sent back to their countries by Australia. He provides compelling arguments to support the claim that the Australian public is being lied to by its politicians.

 

Glendenning discusses his embarrassment when leaders of international refugee councils are incredulous at the tiny populations on Manus and Nauru and the incredible cruelty meted out to them by the Australian government.

Government's Failure to Protect Asylum Seekers

Gillian Triggs is an international barrister whose term as President of the Australian Human Rights Commission was highly controversial because of her strong stand on asylum seekers.

 

Triggs talks about the government’s failure to protect legitimate asylum seekers and worries that human rights and indeed democracy are being compromised in Australia

2018 Buddies Refugee Support Group

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